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Giro d’Italia Stage 18 preview: Here come the climbs

Geraint Thomas, João Almeida and Primož Roglič set to battle

There’s three days to go in the 2023 Giro d’Italia and there’s only half a minute between the top trio. On Thursday, the riders will tackle Stage 18, a 161 km race from Oderzo to Val di Zoldo which has a series of tough climbs. After just 40 km the riders will hit the Passo della Crosetta, a 13.5 climb at 7 per cent average grade. An early break may be gone at this point and the big three will most likely be waiting until the finale to make their moves. Thomas with his strong squad will look to control the race and latch onto any attacks by Almeida.

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The peloton will be well aware of the last quarter of the race and be steeling itself for some feisty racing. The Forcella Cibiana (9.7 km at 7.7 per cent) comes at 135 km, followed by the Coi (5.5 km at 9.5 per cent) which will wreck some legs before the summit finish at Palafavera (2.3 km at 7 per cent.)
Although initially many thought Roglič was the man to watch, it seems more and more the Portuguese cyclist from UAE Team Emirates may prove to be the biggest rival to Thomas at this point. That being said, the Jumbo-Visma rider is only 29 seconds behind so he can’t be ruled out.

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Thursday’s stage will definitely be important, but the next three days are going to be tough on the legs. Friday is another mountain day, followed by the super-tough uphill time trial on Saturday before finishing in Rome on Sunday. There will be no rest for the favourites.